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Philosophy

Educational Philosophy & Training Model

The Counseling Psychology Program philosophy of education and training is informed by 4 elements that reflect our values in the preparation of health service professional psychologists with discipline specific knowledge: (1) the themes of the counseling psychology discipline (Gelso & Fretz, 2002), (2) the scientist-practitioner model for training in psychology (Murdock, Alcorn, Heesacker, & Stoltenberg, 1998), (3) the ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), and (4) and emancipatory communitarian approach to psychology practice (Prilleltensky, 1997).

First, consistent with the unifying themes of counseling psychology, we emphasize prevention training and a strengths-based approach. Our training spans education, prevention, and treatment work relevant to children, adolescents, families, and adults within their diverse ecologies and environments. We emphasize research that aids in the identification and reduction of risk factors, the enhancement of protective factors, and that contributes to the evidence base of practices that promote psychological health.

Second, consistent with a scientist-practitioner model of education and training (Murdock et al., 1998), we: (a) facilitate students’ conceptualization of science and practice as complementary and interdependent; (b) provide students with training in philosophies of research, intervention methods, and scientific inquiry that they can use to advance research and practice in diverse settings; and (c) foster students’ socialization and professional identity development as scientist practitioners and counseling psychologists.

Third, consistent with Urie Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model of human development, we infuse training with attention to the contexts and systems within which human behavior occurs.  These contexts must be considered if behaviors, cognitions, and emotions are to be understood. Assessment, prevention, intervention, and research are viewed within the unique social, historical, political, and cultural contexts in which they occur, and students are trained to consider these contextual factors in all aspects of their work. Failure to consider person-system interactions leads to interventions that are inefficient at best and that may be harmful at worst, and to research that is limited in scope and applicability.

Fourth, we are guided by Prilleltensky’s (1994, 1997) critique of psychology, and aspire to take an emancipatory communitarian approach to the practice of counseling psychology. This means that as we critically assess the unique social, historical, political, and cultural contexts that shape and are shaped by human endeavors, we pay particular attention to conditions of social injustice, the reproduction of inequity, and how such conditions influence the mental health and well-being of communities. We acknowledge that the practice of psychology can contribute to, or can ameliorate, these problems, and consider it our responsibility as prevention scientists and counseling psychologists to work toward social justice. We infuse attention to human diversity, multicultural competency development, and advancing social justice throughout students’ coursework, practice, research, and professional opportunities. UO Counseling Psychology scholarship and service activities reflect our focus on prevention practices, diversity, social justice, and the application of science to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

The goals and objectives of the counseling psychology program reflect our program philosophy and training model. We aim to produce graduates who are competent scientist-practitioners, who are committed to multicultural competence and social justice values in science and practice, and who reflect the values and identity of counseling psychologists, including a strong commitment to ethical practice in psychology.

Goals & Objectives

GOAL #1: To produce graduates who are competent scientist-practitioners
  • Objective 1: Graduates are knowledgeable of the foundational areas of psychology and the history of psychology.
  • Objective 2: Graduates are knowledgeable and competent in research conceptualization, design, data analysis and interpretation, and dissemination of research findings.
  • Objective 3: Graduates are knowledgeable and competent in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, and supervision and consultation with adults and child/family populations.
  • Objective 4: Graduates are able to apply the knowledge base of psychology, prevention science, and counseling psychology in a scientifically-based, theoretically-driven manner.
GOAL #2: To produce graduates who are committed to multicultural competence and social justice values in science and practice
  • Objective 5: Graduates are able to engage in science and practice that reflects knowledge of the ecological model.
  • Objective 6: Graduates are able to engage in culturally competent clinical and professional practice that reflects social justice values.
  • Objective 7: Graduates are able to engage in culturally competent scholarly work that reflects social justice values.
GOAL #3: To produce graduates who reflect the values and identity of counseling psychologists, including a strong commitment to ethical practice in psychology
  • Objective 8: Graduates develop professional identities as counseling psychologists
  • Objective 9: Graduates are knowledgeable of and adhere to ethical and legal guidelines and standards in all aspects of their professional work.
  • Objective 10: Graduates are knowledgeable of the historical development, traditional and emerging roles and functions, current professional issues, and scope of research and practice in counseling psychology and prevention science.
  • Objective 11: Graduates display professionalism in their relationships with faculty, staff, and peers necessary for success in multiple career settings.
  • Objective 12: Graduates engage in continuing professional education activities and lifelong learning.

Additional Information

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. Annals of Child Development, 6, 187–249.

McWhirter, B. T., & McWhirter, E. H. (2007). Toward an emancipatory communitarian approach to counseling psychology training: the University of Oregon program. In Aldarondo, E. (Ed.) Promoting social justice through mental health practice (pp. 391-416). New York: Lawrence Earlbaum and Associates.

Chronister, K.M., McWhirter, B.T., & Kerewsky, S.D. (2004). Prevention from an ecological framework. In R.K. Conyne & E.P. Cook (Eds.). Ecological counseling: An innovative approach to conceptualizing person-environment interaction (pp. 315-338). Alexandria, VA, USA: American Counseling Association Press.